Parlay Bets - Rules, Odds, And More
When it comes to betting on sports, there are a bunch of options that a bettor can choose from on all of the online sportsbooks that take players from the US. It's not just picking and choosing which sports, which game, or which player to wager on either. Certainly, those are all variables that come into place. But there are other wager types that can be exploited for a nice profit as well. One of these wager types is known as a parlay.
What Is A Parlay Bet?
Parlays, also known as accumulators, multis, or multi-bets, are wagers that combine the odds for multiple events into one single wager. This allows you to construct bets that can yield huge payouts on small amounts of money, in exchange for adding more possible chances to lose onto your wager.
How To Make A Parlay Bet + Why They Are Popular
A parlay can give players huge wins if they are able to be executed successfully, which is one of the reasons that they are so popular. Few other bets can turn little risk into a big reward like a parlay. On this page, we talk all about parlays. Find out what they are, how to bet them, what makes them popular, and many more frequently asked questions about this type of wager that can be made. Bettors who are able to understand parlays and find out how to bet them have the potential to win big on betting lines.
Example Of A Parlay
Let’s say you wanted to parlay the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the NFC with the Buffalo Bills to win the AFC. You go to your sportsbook and you see that the Buccaneers are +325 to win the NFC, while the Bills are +350 to win the AFC. In order to construct a parlay, you add both of these wagers to your betting slip, and mark it as a parlay by selecting the option available to do so, which will be labeled either Parlay or Multiple in most cases. The odds available on this parlay are set at +1812.
Types Of Parlays
For those interested in betting a parlay, there are several different types that you can take advantage of. The first kind of parlay centers on the types of individual betting lines that you choose to put into your parlay. For example, taking the moneyline on several games, whether it be for the favorite or the underdog are options. A parlay doesn't have to be all one type of betting line. For example, a parlay can be made on one game against the spread, and then another game taking the moneyline, with no spread involved. Parlays can also involve the over/under point total of the game, which is another form of a moneyline on the payout.
Of course, parlays extend further than game lines as well. Player props and team prop odds can be wagered on in this format. However, when it comes to prop odds, online sportsbooks will have their own set of rules as to how many are allowed to occur on one bet, and what those parameters are. Basically, you can parlay most types of bets together, although bettors tend to stick to more normal parlays.
The other most popular form of parlays is the teaser. Teasers are parlays that adjust either the point spread or point total in favor of the bettor, at the cost of reduced odds. Say you are making a parlay for NFL Sunday that features the Steelers -7, the Seahawks +3, and the Over of the Patriots game at 50 points, for a combined +1000 odds. Sportsbooks will offer you the ability to tease that bet a certain amount of points. The most common teaser is 6 points, so a 6 point teaser on that parlay reduces the lines to Steelers -1, Seahawks +9, and over 44 points for around +250 odds. Teasers are a great way to win while reducing your risk.
What makes a parlay wager so appealing is the potential to win really big. There are instances where a $5 wager can profit thousands. It obviously depends on the variables we mentioned at the onset of this article. Primarily how many bets are contained within the parlay, and what those individual sportsbook payouts are to add up to the parlay payout. Bettors like the idea of risking a little to win a lot, and a parlay is the best example of this. This is because a bettor can do a parlay and take favorites on the lines and still win big. A bet on large underdog in not required. Certainly to win the parlay all of the bets have to hit, which makes it difficult, but at the same time bettors have a lot of freedom.
How Much Can You Win From A Parlay?
Sportsbooks will all have their maximum limits on how much a player can win on a single parlay wager, but these are typically set very high. Parlay wagers have some of the highest profit margins and payouts of any bet made.
The amount of money that a player can win will depend on those wagers in the parlay. If a bettor is taking underdogs on a moneyline, the profit margin will be high. If they are taking favorites, it will be lower, but depending on how many bets are made in the parlay, could still be high. That's one of the fun things about a parlay as well, is that a lot of them are unique wagers.
As a bettor, you are able to make up your own parlay as you go along, where the payout will be calculated for you by the sportsbook. For example, if you were to switch those moneyline wagers to bets against the spread, it would change the payout dramatically, because the idea of the spread is to level the field. There is much more variance on a moneyline, where payouts for a parlay can be huge. A spread is a bit more grounded, but can still have high profit margins when a bettor chooses to extend the parlay by picking a number of different games or bets.
Winning A Parlay
In order to win a parlay, you need to win all the legs of the bet. In the example above, you’d need both the Bills and the Buccaneers to win the AFC and NFC respectively. If either of those things did not happen, you would lose the parlay. If both of them happen, you will be able to cash out with your full winnings at +1812 odds.
Fixed Odds Parlays
Fixed odds parlays refer to when you construct a parlay out of multiple legs that all have -110 odds. The traditional fixed odds parlay table is shown below. Note that this only holds true if the entire parlay is constructed of -110 odds parlays. Further complications ensue if you add different odds into the mix.
|Number Of Legs:||Odds:||American Odds:||Win Amount On $100 Wager:|
|2||2.6 : 1||+260||$260|
|3||6 : 1||+600||$600|
|4||11 : 1||+1100||$1,100|
|5||22 : 1||+2200||$2,200|
|6||45 : 1||+4500||$4,500|
|7||90 : 1||+9000||$9,000|
|8||180 : 1||+18000||$18,000|
|9||360 : 1||+36000||$36,000|
|10||720 : 1||+72000||$72,000|
Are Parlays A Smart Betting Strategy?
Much debate exists over the utility of parlay wagering. Math based on expected value suggests that if you are betting at a 55% clip on fixed odds parlays, you can likely see more profit over time from consistently placing big parlay than from individual wagers. However, there is much more variance involved in parlay wagering, and your bankroll might run dry before you are able to actually hit on one of your parlays.
Even if you are picking every wager with 55% probability, the odds of you hitting a ten team parlay are still about 320:1. While this is positive expected value, it will take an incredibly long time for it to actually pay out, and the variance is so high that you might never actually hit on a 320:1 longshot, even though the odds you're getting are – relatively speaking – in your favor.
This is, of course, a big if. If you’re 55% on picking -110s, you might as well be a wizard. At 50%, parlays are negative value from the start, with a sportsbook payout on a two leg fixed odds parlay set at +260, but the actual chances of you winning a two leg fixed odds parlay (assuming -110 odds implies a coinflip) is one in three. It only gets worse from there – if you’re 50% picking winners, a 10 leg parlay pays out at 720:1, but the actual chances of winning it are 1023:1.
|Fixed Odds Parlay Legs:||Traditional Fixed Odds Parlay Payout Ratios:||Actual Chance Of Winning Parlay If You Are 50% In Individual Legs At -110 Odds:||Actual Chance Of Winning Parlay If You Are 55% In Individual Legs At -110 Odds:|
|2||2.6 : 1||1-in-3||1-in-2.3|
|3||6 : 1||1-in-7||1-in-5.0|
|4||11 : 1||1-in-15||1-in-9.9|
|5||22 : 1||1-in-31||1-in-18.9|
|6||45 : 1||1-in-63||1-in-35.1|
|7||90 : 1||1-in-127||1-in-64.7|
|8||180 : 1||1-in-255||1-in-118.4|
|9||360 : 1||1-in-511||1-in-216.1|
|10||720 : 1||1-in-1,023||1-in-393.8|
The quick and dirty answer is that unless you are a wizard at picking fixed odds parlays, they are unlikely to be a smart betting strategy.
Best Sportsbook for Parlays
Bovada is one of the best sportsbooks around, and, as such, is a great sportsbook for parlay betting. Parlays are a fixture of the online betting community, as everyone loves to put down 50 bucks and come out with 10 grand. Bovada is a great website for betting parlays, as their website is one of the easiest to use in the business. With the ability to click bets into your betting cart, so to speak, you can construct parlays with the greatest of ease. Beyond that, Bovada is a site that is known for being an excellent odds provider, and a generous bonus giver. Basically, you can do whatever you want at Bovada, but they are genuinely uniquely good for parlay bettors due to how easy their website is to use.
Build Custom Parlays
BetOnline is a single-minded website. It’s built for people who want to do one thing: bet online. It’s right there in the name. BetOnline has an astounding amount of odds and wagers available on each match, each game, each set. It has odds on anything you can think of, from pop culture to the stock market to, of course, sports. As a sports betting website, it’s one of the best, with a ton of options available to those who make BetOnline their number one choice for sports betting. Signing up is pretty easy, and they make it clear how to do so. They have a good customer service program, as well as reliable bonuses. These factors combine to make BetOnline one of the better online wagering websites around.